Oxycontin is a prescription drug used to treat chronic and around-the-clock pain for people suffering from cancer, arthritis, and other ailments. Oxycontin is the brand name for the time-released formula of the drug oxycodone, an opioid painkiller manufactured by Purdue Pharma, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995 and released the following year. The use of the synthetic opiate grew extensively since its introduction. Despite the requirement of a prescription, Oxycontin has become one of the most in-demand recreational opioids in the U.S., helping to spark an opioid and opiate epidemic.
How Oxycontin Works
Oxycontin, like other opioids, functions by changing the way the nervous system and brain respond to pain. Oxycodone is often mixed with other chemicals, such as in the drug Percodan (oxycodone and aspirin combination), or Percocet which contains oxycodone and acetaminophen. However, Oxycontin is pure oxcodone (about 10-80 milligrams) with nothing added. This is the reason why the dosage timeline is every 12 hours to relieve pain instead of the 4-6 hour dosage used for immediate release forms of oxycodone (such as Vicodin).
Oxycontin Side Effects
Even when you use the drug as directed, as with all medications, side effects are an unfortunate aspect of taking Oxycontin. The side effects of Oxycontin include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes
- Breathing problems
- Abnormal heartbeats
- Heart attack
Misuse and Abuse of Oxycontin
Oxycontin requires a physician's prescription. The FDA advises that Oxycontin should only be used to treat individuals who can tolerate narcotic pain medication since it's highly addictive and can result in fatalities for those who overuse the medication.
Another effect of the Oxycontin is the feeling of euphoria that comes from taking narcotics. This obviously has contributed to Oxycontin's popularity as a recreational drug, in addition to its potency as a painkiller, and the strength of Oxycontin makes it very addictive. This misuse and outright abuse leads to increases in crimes such as pharmacy robberies, prescription forgeries, and other crimes associated with drug trafficking.
Because of the highly addictive nature of the drug and the severe side effects, Oxycontin use and prescriptions should be highly regulated. Drug companies have a duty to warn consumers about the dangers and risks of drugs. Based on assurances from pharmaceutical companies, health care practitioners prescribed opioid pain medication at high rates, which lead to an increase in opioid overdoses and high rates of addiction. This cause-and-effect forms the basis of lawsuits involving the harm to consumers due to the pharmaceutical company's actions or inaction.
Next Step: Get a Free Case Review
The misuse and abuse of opioids such as Oxycontin has led to a major health crisis in the U.S. If you or someone you know has been affected by Oxycontin, then you need to know how the laws affect your situation. Take the next step today by getting a free case review with an experienced attorney.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.